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Slowdowns are most often due to lack of computer resources, in particular memory and free hard-drive space.
That is XP SP3 I hope? Otherwise you might as well not bother worrying because it's doomed from the start.
Updates are what keeps the anti-virus protection and other parts of Security Center up to date. Without them you might as well not bother using protection as it would be next to useless after a while anyway. New infections are churning out by the thousands every week.